Originally a day of indulgence before the privations of Lent, Shrove Tuesday has a long association with pancakes, which use up eggs, butter and milk before the fast. But it has evolved to provide pan-fried fun for families of all faiths and none, whether you hold a pancake race in the back garden or just have them for tea.

Each member of the household will have their own idea of the perfect pancake filling. If yours is savoury, or you just want to get something proper into the family before the sugar rush starts, try a slice of ham from the delicatessen counter with Emmenthal, aged Cheddar or a fried egg. You could also try wilting a little spinach, adding it to a mixture of ricotta and Parmesan, and baking it inside pancakes topped with tomato passata and some more cheese.

Sweet toppings are a personal business, so put a stack of pancakes on the table alongside warm plates and a selection of goodies, and let everyone make their own. Traditionalists favour just sugar and fresh lemon juice, and Amalfi Coast lemons, intense and super-juicy without too many pips, are in season and perfect for the Shrove Tuesday squeeze.

If you fear the pressure of the weekday sizzle, worry not. There are ready-made mixes and pancakes waiting for you in store, so nothing will stand between you and a flippin’ good Pancake Day.

Ingredients

•100g plain flour

•2 large free range eggs

•300ml milk

•Pinch Salt

•Vegetable oil for frying

Instructions

1 Place the flour and salt into a bowl and make a well (hole) in the centre. Crack the eggs into a jug with the milk and beat, then pour this slowly into the flour well. Draw the flour gradually into the middle whisking all the time until you have a smooth, pourable batter the consistency of single cream. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes (if you have time), this allows the starch in the flour to swell and produces an even textured pancake.

2 Using kitchen paper, coat the inside of a heavy-based shallow frying pan with a small amount of the vegetable oil. Pour a small ladleful of the pancake mixture (about three tablespoons) into the pan, swirling the mixture around to form a thin layer that coats the base. Cook for about 30 seconds until the pancake begins to set and is golden. Carefully, using a spatula or palette knife, flip the pancake over to cook the other side for a further 30 seconds until golden and crispy on the edges.

3 Slide the pancake onto a warm plate and repeat with the remaining mixture, layering up the pancakes between baking paper.

4 Pile high with your chosen sweet or savoury toppings and enjoy.

- See more at: http://www.booths.co.uk/recipe/perfect-pancakes/#sthash.HWJmZoIJ.dpuf